international Workshops



                   Aquinas,               Alfarabi,                       Avicenna,         Averroes,              Maimonides  &    Albertus


The next AAIWG meeting is at the Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, 24-25 August 2018. Click HERE.

The Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group

(AAIWG) Annual Spring Workshop Conference 2018

Part 1 of 2 Events in Morocco

The Fondation Aboubakr el-Kadiri Pour La Culture


The Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group

Present a workshop on

Averroes’s Thought: Sources and Influences

Rabat, Morocco, March 12-13, March 2018

March 12, 2018

Chair: Josep Puig Montada

9.30: Welcome Address, Mr. Khalid el-Kadiri, President, The Aboubakr al-Kadiri for Culture

9.45: Opening remarks: Prof. Abdou Filali-Ansary and Prof. Richard Taylor.

10.00-11.00: Luis López Farjeat, “Avicenna and Averroes on Perception and Animal Self-Awareness.” (English)

Coffee Break

11.15-12.15: Richard Taylor, Marquette University, Milwaukee, “The Bivalence of Ibn Rushd’s Worldview.” (English)

12.15-1.15: Abdou Filali-Ansary, Institute for the Studies of Islamic Civilizations, London, “Ibn Rushd in Our Words: Truth, Social Order and the Ideal Order.” (English)

Luncheon at the Foundation

Chair: Terrence Kleven

2.15-3.15 : Abdelali Elamrani-Jamal, CNRS, Paris, « L’argumentation de Thomas d’Aquin contre la noétique d’Averroès et ses fondements dogmatiques d’après le De Unitate intellectus contra Averroïstas.» (French)

3.15-4.15: Josep Puig Montada, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, «Averroès, l’intellect acquis.» (French)

Coffee Break

4.30-5.30: Mohammed Essadki, University of  Sidi Mohahammed Ben Abd Allah, Fes, “Revisiting the debate on Averroism and Ghazalianism in the Islamic West during the Thirteenth Century.” (Arabic).

4.30-5.30: Younes Ajoun, University of Sidi Mohahammed Ben Abd Allah, Fes, “Philosophical Works of Abdelatif al-Baghdādī and Ibn Rushd: Preliminary Remarks.” (Arabic).

March 13, 2018

Chair: Abdelali Elamrani-Jamal

9.00-10.00: David Twetten, Marquette University, Milwaukee, “Why the Prime Mover Is Not an Exclusively Final Cause: Alexander of Aphrodisias and Averroes.” (English)

10.00-11.00: Mhamed Ait Hamou, University of Sidi Mohahammed Ben Abd Allah, Fes, “Philosophy and Kālām (Rational Theology) after Ibn Rushd: Ibn Ṭumlūs and al-Miklātī.” (Arabic)

Coffee Break

11.15-12.15: Fouad Ben Ahmed, Dar el-Hadith el-Hassania, Rabat, “Logic in the Thirteenth Century in Muslim Spain: Ibn Ṭumlūs’s Compendium on Logic.” (in English).

12.15-1.00: Concluding Debate.

Lunch and Visit to sites in Rabat and Sala

6.00-8.00: Open Session: “Averroes Today: Interpretative Strategies.” Round Table with contributions by Abdou Filali-Ansary, Richard Taylor, Abdelali Amrani Jamal, Fouad Ben Ahmed.

9.00: Dinner for speakers and guests

Organizers: Abdou Filali-Ansary, Richard Taylor, Luis López Farjeat, and Fouad Ben Ahmed

Some abstracts:

Abdou Filali Ansari. He is former “research professor at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) in London. Previously, he was the founding director of the AKU-ISMC (2002-2009), director of the King Abdul-Aziz Foundation for Islamic Studies and Human Sciences in Casablanca, Morocco (1984-2001), and assistant professor of philosophy in the Faculty of Letters at Rabat University where he taught modern philosophy from 1970 to 1973. In 1993, Prof. Filali-Ansary initiated a bilingual journal (Arabic/French) Prologues: revue maghrébine du livre with a team from the academic community in Morocco. His publications include French and English translations (with introduction) of Ali Abdel Razek’s essay Islam and the foundations of political power (Paris: La Découverte, and Casablanca: Le Fennec, 1994; Edinburgh: EUP, 2012), essays entitled L’islam est-il hostile à la laïcité? (Casablanca: Le Fennec, 1996 and 1999), Par souci de clarté (Casablanca, Le Fennec, 2001), Réformer l’islam? Une introduction aux débats contemporains (Paris, La Découverte, 2003), as well as articles in academic journals.” (

“Ibn Rushd in Our Words: Truth, Social Order and the Ideal Order”


Ibn Rushd has been the focus of renewed interest during the last few decades, mainly from two perspectives, one academic, scholarly and technical, often dealing with topics which have no relation to the concerns of audiences beyond academia, and the other “militant” approaches, making of him a hero of contemporary struggles, well away from what can be accepted on the basis of the available historical sources.

While the former are seeking to understand the philosopher in his own terms, to reconstruct his thinking by attempting to reach out to the categories he used and the meanings they conveyed, the latter are often assuming that his thought can be formulated in categories which are familiar to contemporary circles beyond academia and that his thought could be “mobilised” in ongoing struggles against fundamentalism, irrationalism and the like.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential worth of a reading that is attentive to nuances in expressions chosen by IR often left aside both in academic works and in militant discourses. Beginning from the title given by the philosopher to his essay on truth, it will be claimed that what is sought is clarification and discernment, rather than any proclamation which would be decisive with some kind of finality.

About truth, it will be suggested that interpreting the relationship between wisdom and religious law in terms of what we call nowadays cross-referencing may have substantial merits in understanding the philosopher’s concerns and may lead to a renewed assessment of his proposal for the defence of social peace as well as freedom of thought.

From there, attention will be given to a misunderstanding about the philosopher’s use of categories and notions from the Islamic heritage in the course of his commentaries on pre-Islamic texts. Elements from the short story by Jorge Luis Borges Averroès Search will be taken as starting points to read into assumptions made through widely shared conceptualisations of Muslim traditions and the particular roles given to reason and tradition in the making of the social imaginary.

  1. L.López-Farjeat, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, Mexico

“Avicenna and Averroes on Perception and Animal Self-Awareness”


In some passages in his psychological writings, Avicenna affirms the possibility that non-human animals have some kind of self-awareness. However, given that the cognitive capacities of non-human animals are seemingly limited to sense-perception, it would be somewhat problematic to claim that they are able to know anything beyond their own corporeality. At any rate, Avicenna argues that non-human animals are endowed with some primitive level of self-awareness. Averroes, in contrast, states that animals cannot have any kind of knowledge beyond sense-perception. This being the case, it would be quite difficult to assert that animals have some sort of ‘knowledge’ properly speaking and much less some kind of ‘self-awareness.’ Thus, what kind of contents would animal perception provide? In this paper I shall briefly explain the kinds of self-awareness in Avicenna’s psychology, in order to establish the way in which he deals with the subject of self-awareness in human and non-human animals. Subsequently I review the way in which Averroes understands perception, in order to derive the reasons why he seems to eliminate the possibility that animals can have cognitive access to their own selves and, consequently, ‘understand’ their own sensible experiences as related to themselves. Finally, I offer evaluative comments on the arguments offered by both philosophers in order to suggest an alternative way to define the cognitive range of animal perception.

J.Puig Montada, Universidad Complutenses, Madrid, Spain

“Between the Active and the Material Intellect, Averroes’ Inquiry”


Averroes' terminology on the soul includes the active intellect, the material intellect, the acquired intellect, denoting the amount of acquired knowledge, and the theoretical or speculative intellect. While most of the research has focused on the material intellect because his most relevant contribution to the issue concerns it, my paper will reflect upon the two intellects placed "between" the active and the material intellect and look how they gain import in the last stage of his thought as represented by the Long Commentary on the Soul.

R. Taylor, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA:

“The Bivalence of Ibn Rushd’s Worldview”


With this presentation I hope to learn from the comments and discussion of colleagues expert in thought of Ibn Rushd (IR). In the work of IR we find two paths or procedures which he describes in his Fasl al-maqal and his al-Kashf ‘an al-manahij when dealing with matters of interest to both philosophy and religion. One method he calls ẓahir (evident) and the other mu‘awwal (interpreted). The second mode of discourse is for those expert in philosophy and able to bring their intellectual expertise to the interpretation of complex and difficult issues. These issues include the natures of divine providence, prophecy, the soul, the afterlife, divine knowledge and more.  This group is obligated to exercise their powers of understanding as much as possible but with the proviso that they not share what they know or think with the general populace unable to comprehend the ways of philosophy and the sciences. The first is a mode of discourse which is suitable for the general populace and those not sufficiently learned or knowledgeable in the sciences and philosophy. People of this intellectual status are required to accept religious accounts in the evident (ẓahir) sense and to live their lives accordingly. Hence, this first path has bivalence in the sense that both modes of understanding and discourse are recognized as integral to the formation and fulfillment of human society for God’s people, both modes, though distinct and separate, must still stand together.

But the English term bivalence has two meanings. The one indicated already considers two values to be recognized as essential to one thing.  The second sense of bivalence that found in philosophical logic wherein a statement, proposition or state of affairs is said to be bivalent insofar as it is either true or false, with no other option possible.  In his Fasl al-maqal IR also accepts this sense of bivalence when he asserts that there can be only one truth, saying, “Truth cannot contradict truth” (surreptitiously quoting Aristotle’s remarks in his Prior Analytics). That is, when statements or interpretations of religious texts are in contradiction with demonstrative philosophy, there can be only one truth and that truth must be what is found in demonstrative philosophy.

Precisely how, then, are we to understand these forms of bivalence in the thought of this esteemed religious jurist and devoted philosopher of the Neo-Aristotelian tradition to form a single worldview?

D. B. Twetten, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA:

“Why the Prime Mover Is Not an Exclusively Final Cause: Alexander of Aphrodisias and Averroes”


Enrico Berti and Sarah Broadie, among others, have questioned the (still) dominant reading of Aristotle, which is also the (still) dominant reading of Alexander of Aphrodisias and Averroes: that the first cause is an exclusively final cause. Berti blames Alexander for first introducing the “final cause only” reading. I show that for Alexander the prime mover is an efficient cause. If Alexander is to be blamed, it is for turning one of the four causes into a “making cause” only, like an artist. For Aristotle, I argue, “whence is the beginning of motion” need not be an efficient “maker” or artist. In fact, this is Aristotle’s conception of the prime mover’s causality: the art in the artist’s mind. Averroes, who follows Alexander up to a point, comes closer than any ancient or modern reader to the authentic Aristotle: the prime mover is the form in the mind of the divine artist, which is the soul that moves the heavens. On this point, Averroes’ reading surpasses that of the greatest ancient commentator, Alexander.

Enrico Berti et Sarah Broadie ont, parmi d’autres, questionné l’interprétation (toujours) dominante d’Aristote, qui est aussi l'interprétation (toujours) dominante d’Alexandre d’Aphrodisias et d’Averroès, selon laquelle la cause première est une cause exclusivement finale. Berti reproche à Alexandre d’être le premier à avoir introduit l’interprétation d’une ‘cause seulement finale’. Je montre que, pour Alexandre, le premier moteur est une cause efficiente. S’il faut reprocher quelque chose à Alexandre, c’est d’avoir transformé une des quatres causes en une cause seulement productive, comme un artiste. Pour Aristote, selon ma thèse, ‘là d’où vient l’origine ‘mouvement’ ne doit pas nécessairement être un ‘producteur’ efficient ou un artiste. En fait, la conception aristotélicienne de la causalité du premier moteur, c’est l’art dans l’esprit de l’artiste. Averroès, qui suit Alexandre jusqu’à un certain point, est celui qui, plus qu’aucun autre lecteur ancien ou moderne, est le plus proche de l’Aristote authentique : le premier moteur est la forme dans l’esprit de l'artiste divin, qui est l’âme qui meut les cieux. Sur ce point, l’interprétation d’Averroès surpasse celle d’Alexandre, le commentateur ancien le plus éminent.

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